August 24, 2017

Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 8.

Violet "Vie" Torpy arrested"Mrs. Michael J. Torpy"
"keeping a house of ill-fame"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)







IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part eight of eight parts.


     The following is the last of an eight part series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. Minor members of the Soap Gang were deported out of Skagway, Violet Torpy (Mrs Michael J. Torpy) was one of those forced to leave. Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 438 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs Mrs. M. J. Torpy - Violation Sec 651 (1867) O.C. [Oregon Code]

July 15, 1898
     Complaint filed by H. L. Swaggart, charging defendant with keeping a house of ill-fame [prostitution], and warrant for the arrest of defendant issued.
     Defendant arrested and brought before the court and being advised as to the nature of the charge filed against her, and as to her right to the benefit of counsel, waived counsel and proceeded with the examination.
     The follow witnesses were sworn and testified upon the part of the prosecution for the United States: John Schroder; J. M. Tanner, F. F. Lelank; J. L. Speery; H. E. Batten [Battin] and H. L. Swaggart.
     The following witnesses were sworn and testified upon part of the defendant.
     J. F. Burkhard and S. S. Roberts.
     The defendant being then advised as to her right to make or waive making a statement not under oath, proceeded to and made statement not under oath which said statement was reduced to writing by the court in the presence of the defendant, and after being read over to the defendant, the same was signed by the defendant in the presence of the court.
     It appearing to me from the testimony produced before me on the examination that the crime of keeping a house of ill-fame has been committed, and that there is sufficient cause to believe the defendant Mrs. M. J. Torpy guilty thereof, I order him to be held to answer the same and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of one thousand dollars.
     Commitment issued and with the defendant and committed delivered to James M. Shoup United States Commissioner Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner for Alaska.



* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.











Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.











U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
Violet "Vie" Torpy [Tarpy]: pp. 573.
Joseph Burkhard: pp. 91, 452, 461, 521, 565-67.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.
H. E. Batten [Battin]: pp. 543, 567, 571.






"In the 1930s while involved in St. Louis political circles, Jefferson thought such exposure could jeopardize his position in the city. He even went so far as to hide the enormous collection of Soapy Smith documents and memorabilia behind wall panels in the basement of the family home. John Randolph Smith, the author’s father, told of the hiding place and how he would sneak down and play with the rifle, faro cards, gaming equipment, and old hat and coat secreted there."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 7








Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 7.

Harry Bronson arrested
"Concealing stolen property"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)





Previous version
"Being an accessory after the fact"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)






IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part seven of eight parts.


     The following is part six of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. Soap Gang member Harry Bronson was charged with "concealing" J. D. Stewards gold poke and was arrested. Following are the two transcriptions of the events listed on page 433 and 437 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede. First page 433.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs Harry Bronson - Violation Sec 534 (1742) Oregon Code

July 9th 1898
     Complaint charging defendant with being accessory after the fact to the crime of larceny from the person of another sworn to by J. M. Tanner filed, and warrant for arrest of defendant issued.

July 9th 1898
     J. M. Tanner appointed by the court to serve warrant.

July 9 15, 1898
     Defendant brought before the court, and upon being asked his true name stated it to be Harry Bronson, and being by the court advised of the nature of the charge against him, and of his right to the aid of counsel, waived examination.
     Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant George Harry Bronson be held to answer for the crime of being an accessory after the fact to the crime of larceny from the person of another. It therefore appearing to me that the crime of larceny from the person of another has been committed and that there is sufficient cause to believe the said defendant guilty of being an accessory after the fact thereof I order him to be held to answer the same, and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of ten thousand ($10,000.) dollars.
     Commitment issued, and with the defendant placed in the hands of the United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner for Alaska.

Page 437 changed the charge of "being accessory after the fact to the crime of larceny," to "concealing stolen property."

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

Violation Sec 561 (1774)
United States
vs
Harry Bronson

July 9th 1898
     Complaint charging defendant with the crime of concealing stolen property sworn to by J. M. Tanner, filed, and warrant for arrest of defendant issued.

July 15, 1898
     Defendant arrested and brought before the court, and upon being asked his true name gave it as Harry Bronson.
     The defendant being advised as to the charge filed against him, and his right to aid of counsel, waived examination.
     Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant be held to answer for the crime of concealing stolen property.
     It therefore appearing to me that the crime of concealing stolen property has been committed, and that there is sufficient cause to believe the defendant Harry Bronson guilty thereof. I order him to be held to answer the same, and have admitted him to bail in the sum of ten thousand dollars.
     Commitment issued and with the defendant delivered to United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner.


* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.










Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.












U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
Harry L. "Red" Bronson: pp. 566, 575.
Josias. M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.




"The citizens have called a mass meeting to consider what steps are to be taken, and it means a fight, and they look to us to lead them."
—Samuel H. Graves
President of the White Pass and Yukon Railway








Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 6.

Sylvester S. Taylor arrested
Deputy U.S. Marshal

"Wilful neglect of official duty"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)







IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part six of eight parts.



     The following is part six of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. It was discovered that Deputy U.S. Marshal Sylvester S. Taylor was in league with Soapy Smith and his gang. Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 436 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs S. S. Taylor - Violation Sec 636 (1852) OC [Oregon Code]

July 15, 1898
     Complaint charging defendant as United States Deputy Marshal with wilful neglect of official duty sworn to by J. D. Stewart, filed.

July 15, 1898
     Warrant issued and placed in hands of United States Deputy Marshal J. M. Tanner for service.

July 15, 1898
     Defendant arrested and brought before the court, and being advised of the nature of the charge against him, and of his right to the aid of counsel, defendant waived examination.
     Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant be held to answer for the crime of wilful neglect of official duty.
     It therefore appearing to me that the crime of wilful neglect of official duty has been committed and that there is sufficient cause to believe the defendant S. S. Taylor guilty thereof, I order him to be held to answer the same and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of five thousand dollars.
     Commitment issued and with the defendant delivered to United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner.


* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.










Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.












Sylvester S. Taylor: pp. 508-12, 520, 527, 562, 575-76, 580-81.
John Douglas Stewart: pp. 55, 80-82, 91, 434, 525-28, 532, 547, 553, 558, 562-63, 565, 567, 574-75, 577-79, 581, 585, 595.
U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.







"Men who had known Soapy were still living, and the Smith siblings were able to question some of these witnesses. In the 1960s they tape-recorded interviews with a number of old-timers who had known Soapy. As a young boy, the author recalls several meetings and interviews in the den of the family home. Too young to be allowed in at such times, I would “hang out” just beyond a set of saloon-style swinging doors and listen."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 7-8.









Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 5.

George Wilder arrested
"Assault with a dangerous weapon"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives

(Click image to enlarge)




IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part five of eight parts.



     The following is part five of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. Seconds after the shooting stopped the Soap Gang rushed forward to aid their fallen boss. George Wilder was accused of threatening J. M. Tanner with a "dangerous weapon." Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 432 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs George Wilder - Violation Sec 536 (1744) Oregon Code

July 9, 1898
     Complaint charging defendant with the crime of assault with a dangerous weapon sworn to by J. M. Tanner, filed.

July 9, 1898
     Warrant for the arrest of defendant issued, and J. M. Tanner appointed by the court to serve the served.

July 15, 1898
     Defendant arrested and brought before the court, and upon being asked his true name stated it to be George Wilder, and being by the court advised of his the nature of the charge against him and his right to aid of counsel, waived examination. Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant George Wilder be held to answer for the crime of assault with a dangerous weapon. It therefore appearing to me that the crime of an assault with a dangerous weapon has been committed, and that there is sufficient cause to believe the said defendant, George Wilder guilty thereof, I order him to be held to answer the same; and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of five thousand dollars.
     Commitment issued and with the defendant placed in the hands of United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner for Alaska at Dyea.


* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.









Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.












George W. Wilder: pp. 92, 268, 272, 338-39, 353, 471, 554, 564-67, 575-76, 579, 582.
U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.






Jeff Smith's Parlor had his name in large letters across the front facade of the building. This was Soapy's personal podium, the place where he stood at the bar at shined as the "respected businessman, law abiding citizen, and patriot." I guess you could say that the false front extended into the inside of the Parlor as well. Old timers referred to the Parlor as "the real city hall."
—Jeff Smith



AUGUST 24


1814: Washington D.C. is invaded by British forces, setting fire to the White House and Capitol buildings.
1852: Famed confidence man Frank Tarbeaux is born in Boulder, Colorado. He is best known for dressing and portraying the part of a “rube” (an easy mark), so that players of his three-card monte games think they have a better chance of winning against someone not very intelligent or successful. It’s based on the assumption that few people want to gamble with a person who looks like they win a lot.
1853: The first convention of the American Pharmaceutical Association is held.
1857: The business district of Columbia, California is razed by a two-day fire.
1861: Denver, Colorado southern gambler Charley Harrison, proprietor of the Criterion saloon, battles with Union soldiers who forced their way into the establishment. A melee erupted which damaged the saloon. Later in the evening shots were fired into the soldier’s barracks wounding two. The Criterion was surrounded by soldiers and a canon. Harrison was arrested. He sold the Criterion after the trial.
1866: Infantrymen capture two Indians in the San Francisco Mountains, Arizona Territory.
1868: General Philip Sheridan reports that Indians have killed 20 citizens and wounded many in Kansas. He advocates the Indians' forcible removal to reservations.
1869: The patent for the waffle iron is awarded to Cornelius Swarthout.
1874: Cheyenne Indians kill six government surveyors in Meade County, Kansas, known as The “Lone Tree Massacre.”
1877: Corteze D. “Cort” Thomson wins a 125-yard foot-race against Sam Doherty at the Denver, Colorado fair grounds. Among the betters was Thomson’s lover, Denver brothel madame Martha A. “Mattie” Silks, who won a large cash prize betting heavily on her man to win. The following evening, while the couple rode in a carriage, Thomson was wounded by a bullet grazing his neck. The attempted assassin was never identified. In 1892 Thomson is involved with bad man Soapy Smith in the shooting death of gambler Cliff Sparks. In 1898 Silks accuses Soapy of planning her murder.
1881: Bunco-men “Big Ed” Burns and Mat Mahaim get into a shooting affray in Benson, Arizona. Burns’ is arrested after shooting Deputy Sheriff McComas in the leg. A mob burns the gambling furniture of the con men and forces them out of town. Burns is taken to Tombstone for trial. Burns would later join the Soap Gang as a long-standing member, following Soapy to Alaska.
1891: Thomas Edison applies patents for the kinetoscope and kinetograph.
1895: Three days of bullfighting opens in Gillette, Colorado in which Soapy Smith is believed to operate the gambling concession.
1896: Lawman Heck Thomas shoots and kills outlaw Bill Doolin as the two road towards each other on a road outside Lawson, Oklahoma. It is believed that the wife of bad man Soapy Smith (Mary Noonan) is related to the Dalton family.
1912: Alaska becomes a U.S. territory.




August 21, 2017

Right in front of my eyes: Was Soapy Smith's grave washed away in 1919?

Soapy Smith's grave as it looks today
(Photo #1)
Insert shows the rocks from photo #2
(Photo courtesy of "Creepee Baybe")
(Click image to enlarge)







ight in front of my eyes.
"Vigilantes killed Soapy Smith but it was mother nature who permanently exiled Soapy from Skagway."
... Or did it? 



Does Soapy's grave contain Soapy?

     Since the mid-1970s my family assumed that a 1919 Skagway newspaper article was correct when it reported that a September 12 flood had washed Soapy's grave and remains out to sea. We were told by a few residents that the original grave location was likely in the gully about 15-20 feet to the south of the current grave displaying wooden head-board number five. But what if the article was mistaken? What if there was a pretty good chance that Soapy is buried right where his grave has been all this time?
     My publisher, Art Petersen, is an excellent historian and sleuth. I really enjoy talking with him as we see history through all sorts of different angles. During one of our exploratory discussions we were going over a photograph he had located in the University of Washington digital depository (see photo #2). We were talking about the rocks and boulders being intentionally placed where they were, and that got me wondering where those very heavy rocks might have ended up after the flood. I wondered whether they could still be in the gully, perhaps at the bottom near the river shore. If found they would certainly substantiate the theory that the gully was indeed where Soapy's grave was originally located.      

 
Soapy Smith's original grave marker
circa 1901
(Photo #2)
The rocks in question are at the foot of the grave
The marker is small making the rocks appear much larger
(Note the three American flags)
Courtesy of University of Washington
(Click image to enlarge)

SOAPY IS STILL THERE.

     On Facebook there is a page called the Skagway Bulletin Board where locals find out what's going on in town. Occasionally, I post new or interesting stories about Soapy. Sometimes I post questions and the residents are always very helpful and nice. I posted a request for someone to head out to the cemetery to do a little snooping around in the gully. Several people responded that they would be happy to check it out for me. A day or so later I got my answer, and what a surprise it was too!
     Skagway resident and friend who goes by "Creepee Baybe" posted photo #1 (minus the insert) and writes,
There you go, bubbles. It's the same spot. I thought those rocks looked familiar since I've stood by them for decades telling the story of the shootout. Fun field trip
How in the world were those rocks missed all this time! Thank you very much "Creepee Baybe," you solved a 98 year mystery.




The rocks closeup
There is no doubt they are the same
(Click image to enlarge)











1919 flood

 October 3, 2011






"The gambling paraphernalia in the family collection generated in John Randolph a fondness for magic and gambling. He studied and performed standard magic acts for neighborhood shows in the early 1920s. He also learned some methods of deception from his father, Jefferson, who had learned them from his father, Soapy himself. I learned from my father, John, those same methods and in turn developed my own magic and gambling shows. From the 1980s through the publishing date of this book (2009), I could be seen at old festivals, dressed authentically as Soapy Smith, reenacting the prize package soap sell racket, the shell game, and three-card monte on the tripod and keister my father had made."
Alias Soapy Smith



AUGUST 21


1680: Pueblo Indians drive the Spanish out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1831: Nathaniel "Nat" Turner, a former black slave, leads a violent slave uprising in Virginia, resulting in at least 200 slave deaths and 60 white deaths. He is captured in Southampton County, Virginia on October 30, 1831, convicted and executed on November 11, 1831.
1841: A patent for venetian blinds is issued to John Hampton.
1862: Indian Chief Little Crow's warriors lead by Mankato battle 250 settlers on the outskirts of New Ulm, Minnesota.
1863: Confederate guerrilla William C. Quantrill leads “Quantrill's Raiders,” about 450 men, in an attack against the town of Lawrence, Kansas. Of the 2,000 inhabitants, about 180-200 men and boys are murdered. They loot the two banks, along with other merchants and private dwellings, and then burn Lawrence to the ground. 182 buildings are destroyed. Future outlaws Frank James and Cole Younger likely participated in the raid.
1878: Cowboy George Hoyt dies of gunshot wounds received on July 26, 1878 in Dodge City, Kansas. He had fired his revolver into the windows of the crowded Comique Variety Hall, and was subsequently Assistant City Marshal Wyatt Earp and Deputy City Marshal Jim Masterson shot and wounded Hoyt.
1878: The American Bar Association is formed in Saratoga, New York.
1879: Samuel H. Gatchell, 4th Cavalry, is killed by a band of outlaws he was pursuing, near Little River, Chickasaw Nation. His corpse is returned to Fort Sill and buried in the post cemetery.
1880: A Denver, Colorado newspaper reports that the city council is unable to meet for a lack of a quorum due to the grand opening of a new brothel on Holliday (Market) Street.
1888: The adding machine is patented by William Burroughs.
1911: President Taft approves statehood for Arizona and New Mexico.




August 19, 2017

Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 4.

W. H. "Professor" Jackson arrested
Alias Turner Jackson
"Assault with a dangerous weapon"
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)




IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part four of eight parts.



     The following is part four of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding Soapy Smith and the Soap Gang in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith was shot and killed in the shootout on Juneau Wharf. Seconds after the shooting stopped the Soap Gang rushed forward to aid their fallen boss. Turner Jackson approached J. M. Tanner and pointed the muzzle of his revolver at Tanner's chest. At that second the rest of the gang started fleeing the scene, and Jackson joined the flight. Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 430 compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs Turner Jackson - Violation Sec 536 (1744) Oregon Code
Arrested under the name of John Doe Turner

July 9, 1898
     Complaint charging defendant with an assault with a dangerous weapon sworn to by J. M. Tanner, filed, warrant issued and placed in the hands of J. M. Tanner for service. [undecipherable words: could be "July 9th Dyea"]

July 9, 1898
     Defendant arrested, arraigned and stated as the court that his true name is Turner Jackson.

July 15
     Defendant being arraigned before the court and advised as to the nature of the charge against him, and his right to benefit of counsel, and of making or waiving the making of statement, in open court waived examination:
     Whereupon it is adjudged that the defendant Turner Jackson be held to answer for the crime of an assault with a dangerous weapon. It therefore appearing to me that the crime of an assault with a dangerous weapon has been committed, and there is sufficient cause to believe the said defendant, Turner Jackson guilty thereof I order him to be held to answer the same, and I have admitted him to bail in the sum of five thousand dollars. In default, of which
     Commitment issued and with the defendant placed in the hands of United States Marshal James M. Shoup.

C. A. Sehlbrede
United States Commissioner for Alaska at Dyea.

It is of interest that Jackson "stated as the court that his true name is Turner Jackson." It is believed that this is actually W. H. "Professor" Jackson of Denver Soap Gang fame.


* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.










Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 3.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.











Turner Jackson: pp. 76, 81-82, 90, 92, 268, 352-55, 358, 361, 365-67, 369, 393, 395, 398, 421-22, 471, 535, 564, 566, 575-76, 579-80, 595.  
U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.






"In 1977, John Randolph and his brother Joseph Jefferson Smith brought their life of research to a summit with a family reunion in Skagway. This was believed to have been the first time the Smiths had been there since August 1898. Nineteen at the time, I still remember the concerns my father had about how the family would be received. Would the Smiths be welcomed or scorned? The arrival was kept secret, but somehow the visit was discovered, and waiting at the dock were several members of the Skagway Days of ’98 Show to welcome the visitors. The family was warmly embraced, and friendships were forged that continue to this day."
Alias Soapy Smith, page 8



AUGUST 19


1812: The USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides," wins a battle against the British frigate Guerriere, east of Nova Scotia.
1848: The discovery of gold in California is reported by the New York Herald.
1854: The Grattan Massacre, the first armed confrontation between the U.S. Army and Sioux Indians takes place near Ft. Laramie in present day Wyoming as Lieutenant John Grattan, an interpreter, and 29 infantrymen arrive in the camp of Chief Conquering Bear, firing their canon killing the chief. The Sioux attack the troops, killing Grattan and all but one of his men, who escaped to the fort.
1856: Processing condensed milk is patented by Gail Borden.
1864: Colorado Territory rancher, Elbridge Gerry, rides to Denver to warn of an impending Cheyenne attack on settlements on the South Platte River.
Resulting troop actions disrupt the Indians plans.
1871: A gunfight in Perry Tuttle’s saloon, Newton, Kansas leaves five Men dead and wounded.
1878: Outlaw “Big Nose George” Parrott attempts to stop a train by removing a track rail. The train, at Medicib e Bow, Wyoming, is saved from destruction but not Parrott. He is the only train robber lynched, skinned and pickled.
1882: Las Animas County Undersheriff M. McGraw is shot and killed by Trinidad police officer George Goodell in Trinidad, Colorado after calling Goodell a pimp and his wife a prostitute in the newspaper. The fight takes place in front of Jaffa's Opera House, where Goodell puts six bullets into McGraw, who dies two days later.
1887: The last Indian battle in Colorado occurs as troop clash with Utes near Rangely, Colorado.
1891: Trial begins of Belle Wise for operating a house of prostitution in Denver, Colorado. Wise is Bascomb Smith’s (Soapy Smith’s brother) lover.
1895: John Selman shoots and kills outlaw John Wesley Hardin in El Paso, Texas. Earlier in the day the two had exchanged angry words. That night, Hardin went to the Acme Saloon, where he playing dice. Shortly before midnight, Selman entered the saloon, drew his and fired, hitting Hardin in the head, killing him instantly.
1896: Lawman Alfred Allee is stabbed and killed in a Laredo, Texas barroom brawl.
1900: Ex-Secretary of State Caleb Powers is found guilty of conspiracy to murder gubernatorial candidate William Goebels in Frankfort, Kentucky.
1909: The first car race to be run on a brick track occurs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.




August 18, 2017

Soapy Smith in court: The US Commissioner journal for Dyea, Alaska, 1898; Part 3.

Charges against members of the Soap Gang
W. F. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers
The robbery of John Douglas Stewart
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)




IVIL AND CRIMINAL ACTIONS
The legal journal of the U.S. Commissioner Court
Dyea, Alaska; part three of eight parts.



     The following is part three of a series of articles regarding the journal of legal proceedings regarding  Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska, started by U.S. Commissioner John U. Smith. On this case Commissioner Smith has been replaced by Charles Augustus Sehlbrede.
    On Friday, July 8, 1898, three of Soapy's gangsters who started out swindling miner John Douglas Stewart with a three-card monte game, but ended by outright robbing Stewart of his gold poke worth about $2,600. This robbery led directly to the death of Soapy on the evening of the 8th. Following is the transcription of the events listed on page 428, compiled by Commissioner Sehlbrede.

The United States Commissioners Court for the District of Alaska at Dyea

United States vs W. E. Foster, Van B. Triplet, and John Bowers - Violation Sec 534 (1742) DC.

July 8th 1898.
     Complaint charging defendants W. F. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers with larceny from the person of another sworn to by J. D. Stewart filed.
     Warrant for arrest of defendants issued and placed in the hands of S. S. Taylor U.S. Deputy Marshal for service.

July 8th. U.S. Deputy Marshal S. S. Taylor being unable to act, J. M. Tanner is appointed to make service of said writ, which said appointment is in writing in words and figures as follows:

United States of America
District of Alaska
    On account of the inability of S. S. Taylor the Deputy U.S. Marshal, to serve this writ, and there being no other officer within the reach of this court to serve this writ, I hereby appoint J. M. Tanner to make service here of.
     Dated July 8th 1898.
     C. A. Sehlbrede
     U.S. Commissioner for District of Alaska, at Dyea.

July 11th 1898. J. M. Tanner who was appointed to make service of the warrant of arrest herein, made his return in words and figures as follows:

United States of America
District of Alaska
     I, Josias M. Tanner hereby certify that the within warrant came into my hands, for service on the 8th day of July, 1898, and I served the same by arresting all the within named parties on the 10th day of July 1898 and I now have the bodies of the said defendants in my custody, awaiting the action of the within named court.
Dated at Skagway, Alaska, July 10th, 1898.
Josias M. Tanner

No. [number] of miles traveled, 40.

July 14th 1898.
     Defendants brought before the court, complaint read to them, and each of said defendants being advised by the court as ti their right to have the benefit of counsel, declined the aid

[Continued on page 428]



More on the charges against the Soap Gangsters
Courtesy Alaska State Archives
(Click image to enlarge)

of counsel and personally waived examination, whereupon it is adjudged that said defendants and each of them be held to answer for the crime of larceny from the person of another. It therefore appearing to me that the crime of larceny from the person of another has been committed, and there is sufficient cause to believe the said defendants W. E. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers are guilty thereof, I order them to be held to answer the same, and I have admitted them, the said defendants to bail, to answer in the sum of $25,000.00 each.
C. A. Sehlbrede U.S. Commissioner for Alaska

Complaints issued as follows
In the U.S. Commissioners court for the District of Alaska at Dyea.

United States
vs.
W. E. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers
     In the name of the President of the United States of America.
     To the United States Marshal for the District of Alaska.
     An order having been this day made by me, that W. E. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers be held to answer upon a charge of larceny from the person of another, you are therefore commanded to receive them, the said W. E. Foster, Van B. Triplet and John Bowers in your custody and detain them and each of them until legally discharged.
Dated at Skagway, Alaska, July 14th, 1898.
C. A. Sehlbrede
U.S. Commissioner for Alaska.

Upon said committant [sic] was indorsed [sic] the following I have admitted each of said defendants to bail to answer in the sum of $25,000.00

C. A. Sehlbrede
U.S. Commissioner
* A very special thank you to Art Petersen who located and copied the pages of the journal.










Commissioner's Journal: part 1.
Commissioner's Journal: part 2.
Commissioner's Journal: part 4.
Commissioner's Journal: part 5.
Commissioner's Journal: part 6.
Commissioner's Journal: part 7.
Commissioner's Journal: part 8.










U.S. Commissioner Charles Augustus Sehlbrede: pp. 506-07, 514, 520-21, 527, 529, 533, 537, 542, 544, 547-48, 550, 553, 557, 562-63, 566-67, 570-71, 575, 577.
W. E. "Slim-Jim" Foster: pp. 80, 91-92, 471, 475, 525-26, 554, 564-67, 569-70, 575-76, 579, 595.
Van B. "Old Man" Triplet (Triplett): pp. 90-92, 471, 475, 526, 554, 564-67, 575-79, 595.
John L. "Reverend" Bowers: pp. 65-69, 76, 87, 91-92, 128-30, 188, 193, 195, 214, 247-48, 268, 272, 313, 328-29, 342, 351, 353-55, 358, 361-62, 264-67, 369, 382, 389, 396, 398, 417, 471, 478-79, 487, 489, 502, 509-10, 525-26, 554, 564-67, 570, 575-76, 578-79, 594-95. 
Deputy U.S. Mars hal Sylvester S. Taylor: pp. 508-12, 520, 527, 562, 575-76, 580-81.
John Douglas Stewart: pp. 55, 80-82, 91, 434, 525-28, 532, 547, 553, 558, 562-63, 565, 567, 574-75, 577-79, 581, 585, 595.
Josias M. Tanner: pp. 82, 459, 500, 530, 533, 535, 541, 544, 547-49, 551, 562, 564, 566-71, 575-79, 582.





“Enter biographer Jeff Smith with his determination to record apparent realities, no matter what they might be. His method was to line out all available information about the man and interpret it based on documentation of strong or at least reasonable authority. His decades of work draws back a curtain on times and details previously unknown about Soapy Smith…”
—Art Petersen, Alias Soapy Smith



AUGUST 18


1587: Virginia Dare is the first English child known to be born on American soil. Born in the colony that is now Roanoke Island, North Carolina, it mysteriously vanished.
1735: The Evening Post of Boston, Massachusetts begins publishing.
1840: The American Society of Dental Surgeons is founded in New York City.
1846: U.S. forces led by General Stephen W. Kearney, capture Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1862: Indian Chief Little Crow leads an attack on the Lower Sioux Agency near Fort Ridgely, Minnesota, killing twenty men and taking twelve women captive. Other raids will take the lives of as many as 400 settlers.
1862: Union troops reoccupy Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, controlling the Rio Grande's Middle Valley for the remainder of the Civil War.
1872: The Hayden Expedition camps at a geyser basin in Yellowstone, Wyoming Territory.
1889: John O. “Texas Jack” Vermillion, now known as “Shoot-Your-Eye-Out-Jack,” of Wyatt Earp fame is arrested as a steerer in one of Soapy Smith’s Denver, Colorado auction houses along with Soapy, Soapy’s brother Bascomb, J. Allen, and “Fatty Gray” Morris, after a front page expose’ entitled Smith and His Pals.
1894: The Bureau of Immigration is established by Congress.





August 16, 2017

"New" photograph of Juneau Company Wharf, Skagway, Alaska.

JUNEAU COMPANY WHARF
"Skagway from Outside Wharf - (Third Wharf)"
Circa 1899
Courtesy of DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University
(Click image to enlarge)





erhaps one of the closest photographs showing the location of the gunfight on Juneau Wharf.



     According to the accounts the shootout between Soapy Smith, Frank Reid and Jesse Murphy took place about 60 feet inside the entrance of the wharf. There are stories of early residents of Skagway showing visiting friends and tourists the blood stains on the wooden planks where Soapy and Reid fell.


Are those blood stains?
Close-up of approximate location of the gunfight.
Circa 1899
Courtesy of DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University
(Click image to enlarge)
     

     Historian and publisher, Art Petersen came across this photograph while researching the photographic files at the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University. We thank him very much for sharing this with us.
      In comparing photographs there is no doubt that the photo is of Juneau Wharf.


Comparison of matching structures.
(Click image to enlarge)












Juneau Company Wharf
The above link is a general search of the blog. Be sure to scroll to the bottom. There are more articles if you click "more posts" at the bottom of the page.








"A clever rascal in one of Shakespeare’s plays claims that “Some men are born great…, Some achieve greatness…, And some have greatness thrust upon them.” And some, like the imposing, contradictory, aggressive, charming, and unforgettable Soapy Smith–his watermarks all through the pages of the last chapters of the American West–have all three."
— Art Petersen, Alias Soapy Smith



AUGUST 16


1777: The Battle of Bennington takes place. New England's minutemen route the British regulars.
1812: Detroit falls to Indian and British troops during the War of 1812.
1829: 18-year-old "Siamese twins," Chang and Eng Bunker, arrive in Boston, Massachusetts for exhibition. They have been joined at the waist since birth.
1858: A telegraph message from Britain's Queen Victoria to U.S. President Buchanan is transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.
1861: U.S. President Lincoln prohibits Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.
1878: Lawman John Beckwith is involved in a shooting in the home of his father, Henry, who had killed his son-in-law, William Johnson, during an argument in the ranch house located in New Mexico Territory. John had tried to intervene and was almost shot by his own father. Earlier in the year John was among those who killed rancher John Tunstall, setting off the infamous Lincoln County war.
1896: Gold is discovered in the Klondike, Canada starting the Klondike gold rush. It is what draws bad man Soapy Smith to Alaska, and to his death. George Washington Carmack, Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie, discover the gold in Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River, Yukon Territory. Carmack staked his claim, marking the beginning of the world's largest gold rush as thousands of miners poured into the territory. Word of the discovery does not reach the outside world until July of the following year, when the steamer Portland docked in Seattle with two tons of gold in her cargo hold. At the time North America was experiencing a severe economic depression known as the Panic of 1893. The rush literally ended the depression overnight. Of the tens of thousands who ventured north, Soapy Smith joined the stampeders, not to mine for gold, but to mine the stampeders of their gold.
1899: Outlaw “Black Jack” Ketchum stopped a Colorado and Southern train near Folsom, Arizona Territory. After robbing the train, conductor Frank Harrington fired at him with a shotgun but apparently missed. The two men continued exchanging shots and both men were wounded, Ketchum receiving buckshot in the chest, but he managed to escape. Ketchum was found the next day alive and propped against a tree. He was taken to Santa Fe where he was tried and hung on April 25, 1901.
1923: 20 members of the Denver Blonger gang are arrested in a raid that ends Blonger rule in the city. The Blonger’s were Soapy Smith’s successors to the underworld throne in Denver.
1924: Former Doolin-Dalton outlaw gang member Roy Daugherty, alias “Arkansas Tom,” is killed in a shootout with lawmen in Missouri.